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Use of disinfectants (like bleach) linked to higher risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease


Senior Member
A study found that nurses who use disinfectants to clean surfaces on a regular basis (at least once a week) had a 22% increased risk of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), an often fatal lung disease responsible for around 5% of all deaths in the UK.
"We found that nurses who use disinfectants to clean surfaces on a regular basis - at least once a week - had a 22% increased risk of developing COPD," says Dr Dumas.

The researchers also looked at exposure to specific disinfectants: glutaraldehyde (a strong disinfectant used for medical instruments), bleach, hydrogen peroxide, alcohol and quaternary ammonium compounds (known as "quats", mainly used for low-level disinfection of surfaces such as floors and furniture). All of these were associated with an increased risk of COPD of between 24% to 32%.

Previous studies have linked exposure to disinfectants with breathing problems such as asthma among healthcare workers. "The potential adverse effects of exposure to disinfectants on COPD have received much less attention, although two recent studies in European populations showed that working as a cleaner was associated with a higher risk of COPD."

Source: Nurses' regular use of disinfectants is associated with developing COPD

The largest risk factor for COPD is smoking, which is responsible for 50% of COPD cases in Western countries.1
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Senior Member
bleach is the worst... I have a hard time tolerating it... I only use it in very small doses occasionally to clean.. mostly use non-toxic stuff